Sunderland's hopes of luring Czech Republic striker Matej Vydra to Wearside have received a boost after Udinese rejected an £8million bid from Werder Bremen for the player – and his agent claimed he is “likely” to move to the Premier League instead.
However, the Black Cats have been warned they face competition from West Brom, West Ham and Swansea City for the 21-year-old.
Vydra scored 22 goals on loan for Watford last season and was named Championship Player of the Year.
However, the Hornets’ failure to win promotion, and thus secure vast top-flight income, means owner Giampaolo Pozzo has refused to sanction a permanent switch of the player from Udinese, the Serie A club he also owns.
The Journal revealed last week that, with new chief scout Valentino Angeloni having previously held the same position at the Italian outfit, Sunderland had enquired about the forward’s availability.
Following further talks with Pozzo, Vydra’s agent Ondrej Chovanec insists he has been authorised to formally open negotiations over a potential temporary transfer with four Premier League clubs.
“We agreed that none of the offers (for a permanent transfer) are in the region that would interest Udinese,” said Chovanec.
He said: “They don’t want to sell him for £8million, so they have given us freedom to discuss loan spells with the Premier League clubs that are interested.
“At the moment we have offers from four Premier League clubs – West Brom, West Ham, Swansea and Sunderland.
“At Udinese they don’t want Matej to have to get used to life in a different country, so now it seems likely he will be playing on in England.”
Sunderland have already lined up six new signings this summer, Moberg Karlsson, Cabral, Valentin Roberge, Modibo Diakite, El-Hadji Ba and Duncan Watmore set to arrive at the Stadium of Light when the transfer window opens on Monday.
Bids are also understood to have been lodged for Inter Milan’s Alfred Duncan and Lazio’s Pedro Cavanda, with sources in Italy claiming negotiations for the latter remain ongoing.
Paolo Di Canio is on the lookout for a new full-back after telling Phil Bardsley to find a new club.
However, should attempts to reach agreement with his former club over Cavanda fail, sources in France suggest Sunderland have an interest – along with Arsenal, Cardiff City, Marseille and Lyon – in Le Havre full-back Benjamin Mendy.
The 18-year-old was thought to be close to a move to Juventus.
However, Mendy’s club have opened discussions with several unnamed English clubs and the player himself is keen on a move to the Premier League.
Le Havre president Jean Pierre Louvel said: “We are talking to clubs and the talks with English teams are going better than others.
“He is most likely going to go and play in England.”
Mendy said: “I have always dreamed of playing in England, so am happy to be linked with English clubs.
“I know it is a big step to go there, but if you want to progress in Europe you need to play at the top level.”
Meanwhile, though reports in Italy claim Sunderland are considering QPR keeper Julio Cesar as a replacement for Simon Mignolet, they are unlikely to match the 33-year-old Brazilian’s £80,000-a-week wages.